Tuesday, June 30, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
June 30, 2009

The Mungiki sect is outlawed in Kenya. It is an underground organization that operates in this country as a terrorist organization. It specializes in killing innocent Kenyans- more particularly the Kikuyu community in Central and Rift Valley provinces.

Recent massacres of tens of people in Kirinyaga and Muranga are still fresh in our minds. And as I write this article, their sect leader, already serving another jail sentence for earlier crimes is again in court charged with the mastermind of close to thirty deaths in the same region.

Started as a religious sect for the Agikuyu, the outfit has grown into a murderous mob that thrives on extorting cash and services from victims that have long given up on police protection. If truth be said, it is their tendency to kill and exploit poor peasants indiscriminately that has born the existence of another killing mob; the vigilantes of Kirinyaga and Muranga. This second group has turned as vicious as the Mungiki themselves.

From the records available; the Mungiki sect, along with the Talibans, Kizunguzungu, Bagdad and any other illegal groupings were banned from operating way back in 2003 when one Philemon Abongo’ was still the Police Commissioner. To my knowledge, that ban has never been lifted either by the government or by successive police commissioners.

Last weekend, a section of the local press reported that former President Daniel Moi held a rare rally in Nakuru that was reported to have been attended by close to 10,000 youths that looked everything like Mungiki followers. These hooligans came from all parts of Central and Rift Valley provinces. And they arrived in similar styles and circumstances as they had done in the past.

It reminded me of the time Moi addressed a similar rally in Nakuru in 2001 where he invited the Mungikis to lay down their arms in exchange for material gifts or jobs in the government. That gathering was also addressed by the late Kihika Kimani, the then KANU chairman for the area.

A year later, it transpired that Moi was actually propping up the Mungikis for his eventual handover of power at the end of 2002. That was the reason his first big rally to launch Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign took place at the Afraha Stadium where government vehicles and matatus were used to transport thousands of youth from the two provinces to the venue. Then as this last rally, the youths checked into available hotels in Nakuru and came in buses hired for the same purpose. Obviously somebody must have footed the bill this time round as was done in 2001 and 2002.

Whereas it was easy to assume that Moi ordered government resources to meet such expenses, questions must be raised as to who financed the Nakuru rally last week. Or have the Mungikis amassed enough wealth due to their illegal activities that today they can finance themselves whenever called upon to do so?

If Moi tolerated the Mungikis to destabilize his political opponents while he was still in power, what use is it for him to continue associating with this illegal sect? Is this the group to bring about peace in the Rift Valley that Moi is purporting to preach? Does Moi understand the mind of a Mungiki; a person that can carry out a ritual killing without any human feeling at all? How can a past head of state associate with bizarre murderers that have made the deaths of ordinary Kenyans their pastime?

Much as we may want to blame Moi for associating with this illegal outfit; one wonders at the role played by his former Vice President, George Saitoti whose office apparently forced all DCs and Dos in the region to attend the rally. Did Saitoti know or didn’t he know the sinister agenda of the meeting? What about our arms of department charged with the responsibility to gather intelligence on such gatherings? Did they know that the Mungiki followers would be addressed by Moi as part of his peace drive in Nakuru? If they did, did they inform the powers that be about it?

My basic knowledge of proscribed sects is that they are outlawed. They are not supposed to operate above board. They are not supposed to appear at public meetings. They are supposed to be arrested on sight and charged at the nearest law courts not for crimes they have committed but for belonging to an outlawed organization. That is crime enough to send them to prison for a long time. Yet here in Kenya, a former head of state invites them to a meeting, addresses them and walks away as if nothing has happened.

If Moi lived in another country, he would have been questioned by the CID by now.